The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. TheĀ information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

1.3.1 Objects of the CSA Act


The CSA Act contains a statement of Parliament's intention in enacting that legislation.

Act references

CSA Act section 3, section 4

On this page

Principal object

The principal object of the CSA Act is to ensure that children receive a proper level of child support from their parents (section 4).

Particular objects

The particular objects of the CSA Act include (section 4):

  • that the level of financial support is provided in accordance with the parents' capacity to provide financial support - parents with a like capacity should provide like amounts
  • that the level of financial support should be determined in accordance with the costs of the children
  • that carers should be able to have the amount of financial support assessed without the need for court proceedings
  • that children share in changes in the standard of living of both of their parents, whether or not they live with both or either of them, and
  • that Australia is in a position to give effect to its obligations under international agreements or arrangements which relate to maintenance obligations arising from a family relationship, parentage or marriage.

Intention of the Parliament

The Parliament intends that the CSA Act should be interpreted to the greatest extent consistent with the attainment of its objects (section 4):

  • to permit parents to make private arrangements for the financial support of their children,
  • to limit interferences with the privacy of parents and carers.

Duty of parents to maintain their children

The CSA Act also states that a parent has a primary duty to maintain their child (section 3). This duty:

  • is not lower in priority than the duty of a parent to maintain any other child or person
  • has priority over all commitments of the parents apart from necessary commitments for self-support or necessary commitments to support another child or person that the parent has a duty to maintain, and
  • is not affected by the duty of any other person to maintain the childĀ or any entitlement the child, or another person may have to receive an income tested pension, benefit or allowance.

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